A world of feathers
The feather is being seen in all of its forms in A World of Feathers, the exhibition currently at the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen in the Netherlands, which has already been seen in Gothenburg and will finish its tour at the Världskulturmuseerna in Stockholm from October 6, 2018, through March 3, 2019. The show examines this light, fragile, and eye-catching material that continues to fascinate both artists and audiences with its infinite possibilities. The often dazzlingly colored feather, a symbol of freedom and freshness, has been used as an ornament by the native peoples of North America, the Amazon, and Papua New Guinea. Feathers are still widely used today in performances of all kinds, ranging from rituals to fashion shows. They can also be instruments of power and objects of great value. The feather, whose beauty is often proportional to its rarity, has had symbolic and monetary significance among many peoples. Native American power headdresses, feather hats from equatorial regions, and complete feather outfits from Cameroon are all pieces featured in this colorful exhibition that offers an aesthetic experience which crosses oceans and continents as it highlights and explores the universality of a material that can be both decorative and sacred.
Face to Face
A new long-term exhibition opening at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology on March 10, 2018, poses the questions “Why and how do crafting traditions of the world so often incorporate human faces” and “how do people respond to those faces?” "Face to Face: Looking at Objects That Look at You presents answers to these questions formulated through a wide variety of contrasting objects drawn from the museum’s vast holdings. For example, West African helmet masks and Roman sculptures illustrate varying conceptions of the “ideal” face, while Japanese tobacco boxes and ancient Peruvian portrait jars raise the question of what a facial expression can mean. Chinese bamboo figurines paired with Caroline Mytinger’s paintings of Papua New Guineans represent the contrast between portraying faces of one’s own cultural group versus those of another. This timely exhibit, which cultivates critical thinking about crucial issues such as stereotyping, representation and misrepresentation, and snap judgments, was produced by the Hearst staff working with fourteen UC Berkeley students.
"Collecting Stories: Native American Art" explores the range of perspectives, motivations, and voices involved in building the early holdings of Native American art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The exhibition focuses on objects collected in the formative years after 1876—the year the museum opened its doors to the public. Many of these works of art were donated by leaders of the MFA and members of New England intellectual circles who traveled to the Great Plains and Southwest, often inspired by period notions of “authentic” Indian life. Highlights include an early Navajo (Diné) wearing blanket dating from 1840–60, a pair of important Eastern Woodlands moccasins from the early nineteenth century, and a Plains roach, or headpiece, made of deer and porcupine hair around 1880–85. "Collecting Stories" also examines how Euro-Americans encountered and represented Native Americans in the late nineteenth century, illuminating some of the historical and political contexts within which the MFA’s collection developed.
Summoning the ancestors
The Fowler Museum at UCLA is planning an exhibition highlighting Nigerian ritual metalwork. Titled Summoning the Ancestors: Southern Nigerian Bronzes, this exhibition features the promised gift of approximately 150 bronze bells and ofos amassed by Southern California collector Mark Clayton. It underscores the power of large-scale collections to demonstrate variations of technique and symbolism within a single genre. Grouped by style rather than geographic area or cultural association, the bells and ofos have a broad —seemingly infinite—range of designs accomplished by Igala, Igbo, and other regional metalsmiths using the lost-wax casting technique. The bells include examples large and small, richly adorned or spare in profile, and some that even stretch ideas of what a bell can be. The ofos derive from wooden staffs of power. Summoning the Ancestors is guest curated by Nancy Neaher Maas, independent scholar, and Philip M. Peek, professor emeritus of anthropology, Drew University, New Jersey.
Twenty years after its creation, New Zealand’s Te Papa Tongarewa Museum will inaugurate a major new gallery space called "Toi Art.Turangawaewae: Art and New Zealand" is one of the four inaugural exhibitions that will christen the space. It will bring together nearly 100 pieces drawn from the museum’s collections and dating from the eighteenth century to modern times, augmented with works by other contemporary artists, both Maori and from other parts of the Pacific. The show seeks to address issues of “Who are the New Zealanders, and where do they come from as individuals, as New Zealanders, and as a nation?” It not only questions notions of belonging to this land, but it offers different visions of the ways in which art can help New Zealanders find their place. Turangawaewae identifies the communities, loci, and ideas central to the sense of belonging. Through painting, sculpture, and photography, it explores the questions of art, identity, and intercultural exchange. New Zealand artists represented include Rita Angus, Colin McCahon, Shane Cotton, Gottfried Lindauer, Len Lye, and Robyn Kahukiwa.
Hugo Pratt, skylines
Like his protagonist, Corto Maltese, Italian cartoonist Hugo Pratt was an avid and enthusiastic traveler. His drawings are replete with references to his trips. "Hugo Pratt, lignes d’horizon" explores the places that were dear to him, from the “Great Ocean” to the “Great North” by way of “Amazonia,” the “People of the Sun,” “Africa,” and the “Indians.” The first part of the exhibition features his original drawings, shown in conjunction with the cultural artifacts that enriched his visual universe. The latter are drawn from the museum's collection, augmented by loans from other institutions. The second part is an immersive experience into the artist’s imagination using graphics and sound. Recurring themes in his work, such as trance states and music, shamanism and divination, and signs and symbols, are explored. Another interesting part of this exhibition features two headdresses, one from the Great Plains of the United States and another from Ethiopia, given to the Musée des Confluences by collector Antoine de Galbert. His donation included more than 500 pieces of this kind, complemented by a few full costumes. After being inventoried, studied, and, in some cases, restored, the collection will be the subject of an exhibition in 2019.
Inca Dress Code
The Musée du Cinquantenaire has ambitious plans for September, when it will open an exhibition devoted to a relatively little-considered yet fundamental form of Pre-Columbian art: the textile. While the colonials sought gold and collectors have coveted sculpture, the Andean peoples of pre-contact times valued above all else the work of weavers and feather artists, who produced beautiful garments and ornaments loaded with iconographic symbols. Mummies were adorned with them, figures were dressed in them, and meticulous care was taken in the choice of their colors and designs, as well as in the details of their manufacture. The Inca Dress Code exhibition examines all aspects of this art form, from the choice of raw materials to the perseverance of these traditions over time, and it explains the significance of various designs while providing a chronological and historical account of the less well-known Andean peoples, who preceded the famous Inca. From November 23, 2018, through March 24, 2019, nearly two hundred objects from some of the greatest collections will be brought together for this event. In addition to those from the Musée du Cinquantenaire’s own holdings, works on view will include many major pieces from the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, the Linden-Museum in Stuttgart, and the MAS in Antwerp.
Made in Africa
Africa is an immense and extremely varied continent that is too often referred to as a single entity. Its 30 million square kilometers are home to more than fifty countries, and the reductionist and inaccurate notion that they can all be lumped together is what the Made in Africa exhibition at the Grassi Museum für Völkerkunde seeks to dispel. On view until September 30, 2018, It offers a teeming presentation of designs and inspiring creations from all over the continent, with an emphasis on the utilitarian objects of daily life. The brilliant creativity that African artists and craftspeople evince goes beyond their borders, and the things they produce find their way into all facets of Western life. The exhibition strives to trace origins and honor the autochthonous and avant-garde creators, whose work is a far cry from the factories that churn out the prefabricated objects we associate with the “Made in China” label.
Beyond Compare: African Art at the Bode Museum
Beginning on October 27, 2017, the Bode Museum
will present a “conversation between continents”
with an exhibition that features more than seventy African
sculptures from the collection of the Berlin Museum
of Ethnology. Beyond Compare sets up a dialog between
objects from Central and West Africa and masterpieces
from Byzantium, Italy, and central Europe. The exhibition
intends to create new interactions that highlight
unexpected similarities as well as differences between
artworks from unrelated traditions. More than thirty juxtapositions
illustrate major themes in human existence
such as power, death, beauty, memory, aesthetics, and
identity. On view through spring 2019, this show goes
beyond the mere comparison of sculptural traditions to
open interesting new perspectives.
More info here: http://www.tribalartmagazine.com/issue-87-sample-4
Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey
Central to the career of Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) were intimate relationships and professional friendships that defined his life and work as well as his quest to understand his own spirituality and that of other cultures. Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey, on view at the de Young Museum until April 7, 2019, presents the progression and scope of his oeuvre from an early drawing of his wife, Mette Gad, c. 1873, to late and well-known works painted in Tahiti or inspired by his time in the Pacific. It does so through a stunning array of Gauguin’s paintings, ceramics, wood carvings, and works on paper counterpointed by Oceanic sculptures. Period photography and excerpts from Gauguin’s letters and writings highlight key periods of his travel, relationships, and creativity. More than fifty of the Gauguin works are on loan from the renowned collection of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. Also included is a new video work, First Impressions: Paul Gauguin, by interdisciplinary artist Yuki Kihara, which was commissioned by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Glyptotek and addresses the colonial gaze represented by Gauguin and turns it back toward Western culture. The exhibition includes rare artworks from the de Young’s collection, each corresponding to the time of Gauguin’s travel and work in the region. Together these provide context for the Pacific histories, beliefs, and art forms that captured Gauguin’s imagination and inspired his work.